Toronto calls on province to be more transparent with COVID-19 data sharing

Nov 16 2020, 9:49 am

Toronto is calling for the province to be more transparent with its COVID-19 data sharing.

On Monday, the Toronto Board of Health unanimously approved a motion calling on the Ontario Government to publicly release the advice provided to the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and the Ontario Cabinet by the provincial COVID-19 advisory tables, including the Public Health Measures Table.

The board notes that this information is currently kept confidential by the province.

“Once again, we’re asking people to make hard sacrifices in order to control the surge in new COVID-19 cases. Full transparency and accountability are more important than ever in order to maintain public confidence and public trust. In the midst of an emergency, complete transparency is required,” Councillor Joe Cressy, Chair of the Toronto Board of Health, said in a statement.

Recently, the province’s colour-coded system received backlash for the high statistic thresholds for each category, which Williams has now said he’ll make stricter.

Now to be in the red zone, there must be 40 people instead of 100 who have the infection per 100,000 and a positivity rate greater than 2.5% instead of 9.9%.

The Board of Health also “unanimously reaffirmed its full support” of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa’s continued use of additional measures to control the resurgence of coronavirus.

Recommendations calling on the provincial and federal governments to increase financial supports to communities disproportionately impacted by the virus were also approved by the Board, along with ensuring paid sick days for all workers and increased support to businesses and staff directly impacted by public health restrictions.

In the meeting, Cressy said the board also addressed the City of Toronto’s initial work with establishing the COVID-19 Immunization Task Force.

According to the Board of Health Chair, local planning for the rollout of the future vaccine is underway, with the board approving requests for the City to work with other levels of government to ensure the vaccine is prioritized for vulnerable populations.

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